The Gold Wing, Honda‘s flagship touring motorcycle, was launched in 1974 as a 1975 model. The original GL1000, powered by an opposed Four with shaft final drive, was the second most powerful production motorcycle at the time, runner-up to the venerable Kawasaki Z-1. It had no fairing and no luggage, but it was so smooth, torquey, and reliable that it became popular with touring riders and has evolved over six generations. (Read our 2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT road test review).
Just a few years after the Gold Wing was introduced, the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) was founded. The GWRRA’s annual gathering is called the Wing Ding, and the 43rd and final event took place June 28 – July 2, 2022, in Shreveport, Louisiana. At Wing Ding 43, it was announced that GWRRA would shut down as of July 31. The following is a press release issued by American Honda.
Gold Wing Road Riders Association founders Paul Hildebrand and Shirley Stevens-Garcia announced last week during Wing Ding opening ceremonies that the organization will be closing. American Honda is saddened by the news and thanks the GWRRA for its dedication to one of Honda’s most iconic models.
Founded in 1977, the GWRRA grew through the heyday of motorcycle touring to the point that it eventually had approximately 80,000 members in 53 countries, and with over 800 active chapters managed by 4,000 volunteer leaders. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, the GWRRA has called itself “the world’s largest single-marque social organization for owners of Honda Gold Wing/Valkyrie motorcycles,” and it adopted the motto “Friends for Fun, Safety and Knowledge.”
A dedicated, family-like group that published its own magazine (Wing World, whose September issue will be the last), the GWRRA worked hard to improve the image of motorcycling and prided itself in being a not-for-profit, nonreligious, non-political organization whose members covered a broad spectrum of backgrounds, but who were unified by a love for owning and riding Honda’s legendary touring model, the Gold Wing.
“We would like to thank our members, vendors and advertisers for 45 years of unwavering support,” said Abel Gallardo, COO of GWRRA. “We truly could not have made it this far without all of you. To our rider-education program, we cannot begin to place a number on the lives touched by your efforts. To our leadership-training and motorist-awareness programs, thank you for educating our members, officers and public to keep our riders safe and enjoying the ride.”
The GWRRA will officially close on July 31. In the interim, it will offer prorated refunds on prepaid memberships.
“For nearly five decades, the GWRRA has set the powersports standard for a grassroots organization based on a single model, and Honda will be forever grateful for the enthusiasm the club’s members demonstrated and generated for the Gold Wing,” said Bill Savino, American Honda Senior Manager of Customer Engagement. “While the GWRRA’s closure is undeniably the end of an era, we want to make sure their members and all Gold Wing enthusiasts know that Honda remains committed to the Gold Wing model and these customers for years to come.”